Under the patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr. Tawfik Al-Rabeia, hundreds of American merchants and male and female business leaders are getting ready to meet their Saudi counterparts. The meeting is to foreshow promising investment opportunities provided by the Kingdom across various sectors and through the fourth Saudi-US Investment Forum. The forum is set to be held on the 22nd and 23rd of March at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh.
Forum attendees will discuss long term areas of cooperation between companies and organizations in both countries, while highlighting direct foreign investment opportunities in the Saudi market worth billions. Some of the prominent participants are US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, US Ambassador to the Kingdom, Joseph Westphal and His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki, Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the US.
The Forum’s discussions will revolve around seven main topics; Information Technology and Communications, Petrochemicals and Mining, Transportation and Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Education and the Development of Human Resources, and Energy. More discussions will have various subtopics including SMEs, supply services and a number of workshops, in addition to the creation of a business environment for bilateral meetings between business leaders. Such business sectors hold the most important opportunities for sustainable growth, diversifying the national economy, creating jobs and reducing the state’s oil dependency.
This year’s forum comes at a special phase preceding the economic reform initiative launched by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the second heir to the throne. The forum also comes in conjunction with the partial privatization of national institutions including Aramco, the Saudi company considered the biggest oil producer globally.
A recent McKinsey & Co. study, instructed by His Royal Highness the second heir to the throne, points out that the Kingdom is capable of doubling its gross national product within the next 15 years. Such growth would generate six million job opportunities providing certain fundamental changes are made. Those changes will have a tangible impact on economic reform and advancing its different sectors, especially since 50% of the Kingdom’s residents are youth under 30 who are in dire need of job opportunities.
The annual forum helps American companies develop a better understanding of opportunities and means available in the Saudi market. It also builds upon the success of a number of commercial events in Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, strengthening the strategic ties and long relationships bringing the two countries together.
From his side, Mr. Turki Al-Taeimi, General Supervisor of Marketing and Communication at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Chairman of the Forum’s Organizing Committee, mentioned that the forum’s timing confirms the depth of the countries relationship.
It also extends the economic sector’s strategic goals after the visit made to the US in September 2015 by King Salman bin Abdulaziz (may God grant him His protection), Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The visit focused on strengthening the investment environment between both countries, which supports and contributes to the growth, diversification and development of investment opportunities serving both countries’ common interest.
Douglas Wallace, Commercial Counselor of the US Embassy in Riyadh, also pointed out, “Saudi Arabia is an essential strategic partner to the United States of America in the Arab world, not only in the field of trade and investment but on many levels. An important event such as this one aims to strengthen those important links”.
The Saudi-US Investment Forum is considered the most prominent gathering of top government officials and the most important male and female business leaders in both Saudi Arabia and the US. The forum is organized by the Saudi-US Business Council in an effort to explore ways of improving economic solidarity between both countries, supporting it with an unprecedented commercial network.